Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: Separating Myth from Reality

10:30 – 11:00

Speaker: Dr Keegan McBride

Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments in the private sector have quickly permeated throughout all levels of society. Daily we are – either directly or indirectly – interacting with AI. Acknowledging the benefits that AI has brought to the private sector, particularly regarding efficiency gains, many have started to talk about the potential benefits that AI may have when applied in and by the public sector. Certainly, some benefits do exist. However, it is also important to realize that the public sector and the private sector are different, with different requirements, goals, and aims. While the private sector may be concerned with customer acquisition, maximizing profits, or market growth, the public sector from does not have the same motivations. Thus, the reasons for applying AI, the ways in which AI is applied, and the areas where AI can be applied will be similarly different. To maximize the impact that AI can have, these differences must be acknowledged. Starting from this need for differentiation, this talk will help to demystify AI, by defining and outlining what AI is and is not. Following this, the talk will highlight the necessary building blocks for the usage of AI in the public sector: technically, infrastructurally, and legislatively. Finally, the talk will conclude by discussing how the public sector can best use and build AI by discussing procurement best practices and presenting best practice case studies.  

Bio: Keegan McBride is a departmental research lecturer in AI, Government, and Policy and Course Director of the Social Science of the Internet MSc program at the Oxford Internet Institute. He is an expert on the topic of digital government and has published research in leading journals and conferences on topics such as Artificial Intelligence in the public sector, open government data, government digitalization, and government interoperability and data exchange systems. In his research he aims to develop an understanding about the future trajectory of the state in the digital age by exploring the complex and co-evolutionary relationships between technology, society, and the state.